Pinkman

Would you like to hear about my drug dealer, Pinkman? I'm going to assume that's a yes, not as some credit to my narrative ability, but because hello. Drugs. Pinkman.

The first thing you need to know about Pinkman is that his name isn't Pinkman. His name is Kenny. Incidentally, his predecessor, the guy who passed me along to Pinkman when he retired (his word), was also named Kenny. When I found out I was being handed off to a new Kenny, I started to wonder if maybe every drug dealer in Los Angeles goes by the name Kenny, as some sort of easy, anonymous code nom de guerre. Actually, I haven't stopped wondering that. So if anyone can confirm or deny, let me know.

Anyway, Kenny became Pinkman as soon as I was finished watching Breaking Bad a couple of months ago. I grabbed my phone and changed his contact name within minutes of the finale ending. (I don't kid myself that I am the only person in America amused by calling her dealer Pinkman. I enjoy it nevertheless.)

I met Pinkman when he delivered four grams of MDMA to me, at my home. I know what you're thinking. Four grams? At your home? Or, if you're not familiar with the dosage and selling of drugs, maybe you have no idea how much four grams is (it's quite a lot). Still, I'm guessing you're wondering at the weirdness of a drug dealer who does house calls.

Yeah, that part is unusual. But I had a broken foot. And I had been asked to procure the Molly as a favor for a friend going to a festival. (He planned on sharing it with several others.)

Pinkman, who was only persuaded to make the trek downtown by virtue of my large order, showed up at my door with a backpack, a boyish grin, and a shock of blonde hair that hung sweetly down the side of his face. I don't know what I'd been expecting, but it certainly wasn't the near-teenager that strode casually into my loft, dropped his bag unceremoniously to the floor, and started playing with Chaucer as if they'd known one another for years.

I didn't know whether to hand him the four hundred dollars we'd agreed upon or pour him a glass of Sunny Delight. And I was suddenly keenly, painfully aware of my age.

Pinkman (then still Kenny) eventually got down to business, but only after complimenting my apartment ("Your place is sick!") and inquiring rather solicitously about my injury. Reaching into his backpack, he asked if I had a coin.

"A coin?" I echoed dumbly.

"Yeah, like a nickel or something. To calibrate the scale." He set a small electronic scale on my kitchen island, along with a plastic baggie filled with what looked like glittering, pale lavender sand. I fished a nickel out of the dish on my sideboard and watched him expertly measure, chatting to me all the while. We compared notes on festivals, on DJs and venues in LA, and on drug use.

"You tried Lucy yet?" (He glanced up at me when he asked this.)

"No," I said, excitedly. "But I've always wanted to! Can you get it?" (I was assured he could. I was further assured that if I liked mushrooms, I would love LSD.)

The ease with which this youth was handling both himself and the very adult subject matter, combined with my own physical discomfort (I was still on crutches), made me strangely nervous. I didn't quite know what to do with myself, so in an attempt to seem equally comfortable, I hoisted myself onto the island, to sit beside the scale he was now hunched over. I felt immediately ridiculous, like I was trying to cozy up to the cute boy in chemistry class. I slid back off the counter and hobbled around to the sofa. Chaucer stayed put, riveted by Pinkman, staring up at him in hopes of another round of tug-o-war.

Our exchange concluded, Pinkman left as quickly as he'd come in, leaving my apartment feeling slightly buzzy in the way that rooms do when emptied of loud teenagers. I'd find out later he's twenty-four.

An hour or so after he'd gone, Pinkman texted to say that he hoped my foot was better soon. When I thanked him, he replied No prob. You're a doll compared to my usual customers lol. I cringed, knowing he meant it as a compliment but inferring that he perceived my politeness as a function of my age. At a loss how to respond, I finally went with Aww, well you're way cooler and nicer than anyone else I've bought from. :). I was afraid that outright referring to him as the nicest "dealer" I'd met would be in some way crass or unkind. He was, after all, also a musician. I didn't want to hurt the kid's feelings.

Lol good. You're super rad as well. Til next time adios and tell the dog goodnight? The question mark did me in - or maybe it was "super rad" - and I couldn't help myself; I sent back a favorite photo of Chaucer, a dSLR shot I'd taken and edited a couple years prior. Pinkman didn't respond. Again, inexplicably, I felt like an awkward high schooler. I chastised myself for sending the pic unsolicited.

I'd hear from him again soon, though.